25 June 2014

Two dolmens in Touraine

A couple of days ago I posted about the dolmen called La Pierre Folle over near Valençay, east of Saint-Aignan. There are two other dolmens near here, one in the southern part of Touraine and the other farther west, near Chinon.

 Le Carroir Bon Air at Ligré, 2005

The first time I went to see the dolmen near Ligré, just southeast of Chinon, had to be in 2004 or 2005. Walt and I had driven over there to buy wine at the Château de Ligré. I don't know if we had read about the dolmen or had just seen a sign along the road. I haven't yet found the pictures from that excursion.

Two more views of Le Carroir Bon Air, from September 2005

But I did return to Ligré in September 2005, that time with my mother, who was visiting from North Carolina. We drove over to Chinon to see the town, and we stopped at Ligré to buy wine and go look at the dolmen, which is called Le Carroir Bon Air. Carroir means the intersection of four roads, I've learned — the word is related to carré, the French word for "square." So four roads must have met at this point (at the top of a hill). I don't know much more about it.

Les Palets de Gargantua in April 2006

The other dolmen in the area is near the village called Charnizay, in the southern part of Touraine near Preuilly-sur-Claise and Le Grand-Pressigny. The first time I went there was in 2006, on April 11. I remember because it was the birthday of a close friend from California who was visiting at the time.

“Gargantua's Skipping Stones” in June 2014

My friend CHM and I returned to see the dolmen at Charnizay a couple of weeks ago. It's called Les Palets de Gargantua, after the legendary giant who was featured in the works of the 16th-century Touraine writer François Rabelais. Palets are little flat disk-shaped rocks of the kind you would skip across the surface of a lake (palet is also the word for "hockey puck"). The idea is that the 50-ton stones near Charnizay were tossed there by Gargantua. That's how big he was supposed to be.

The dolmen near Charnizay in south Touraine, 2014

I'm including a photo of the old informational panel that stood at Les Palets de Gargantua in 2006. It's legible but just barely. In posts about the dolmen that have appeared on Antoinette and Niall's Chez Charnizay blog, and on Tim's Touraine Flint blog, you'll find the newer informational sign that was put up subsequently.


  1. like stonehenge, you wonder how those rocks came to rest in their spot in the first place.

    1. Anne Marie....
      like Stonehenge...
      a lot of very hard work by many determined people...
      there have been a lot of "living archeology" experiments done with Stonehenge sized stones...
      but over very short distances when compared to the distances involved for the real stones.
      The ones at Charnizay were transported at least 40Km... and across two rivers...
      like the pyramids in Egypt and South/Cental America, they are all wonders to behold...
      and they'll all carry on to outlive the monumental edifices we build today.

  2. Ken, these posts are great... and thanks for the link!
    I've just picked up the leaflet/booklet about the 7ème Acheo. Festival...
    for Berry, Touraine and Poitou 13th July to 3rd August...
    keep an eye open for it if you are interested...
    your local Tourist Office should have a copy of your local goings-ons.

  3. This is all very interesting. I really had no idea that these dolmens were around in several spots in France.

  4. Ken , dolmens are very interesting.

  5. Hi Ken, That photo of your little Peugeot seen from the inside of the dolmen is really neat! Past and present beautifully captured in one image :).

    1. A good memory, that visit to Ligré in 2005 with my mother. I'm still looking for the photos from the first visit to Ligré, with Walt, either earlier in 2005 or in 2004.

  6. The dolmens and other megaliths (pyramids, cromlechs, and others) were built for defense. Read more http://forum.ozersk.ru/topic/32337-raskritie-tain-drevnosti/


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